Vienna Teng has been the guinea pig for a new scheme called Dubway Days – where two artists are paired up to write and record a song in a day. The 5 part video blog is currently being upload and parts 1 and 2 are available already. It’s great to see the recording and song writing process and anything Teng writes is golden.
Well the year is out and so we leave 2009 with our top 10 most viewed artists and here they are:
01) Lisa Gerrard: With more posts getting more than 150+ views than any other artist, Lisa Gerrard topped our most viewed list and she looks to stay high in 2010. Her Balibo soundtrack was amazing, and we’re still waiting for her 2009 album “The Black Opal” to arrive to review. Well done Lisa
02) Vienna Teng: Vienna went under the radar for me and is a surprise second. Her fourth album Inland Territory is absolutely stunning and we got our hands on her live DVD from a while back and loved that too. Hears hoping to more in 2010!
03) Brendan Perry: The anticipation for Ark continues and Brendan continues to clock up hits while we wait. Ark looks like hitting early 2010 and rest assured, HPM will be buying it on release day!
04) OverClocked ReMix: Well the biggest game music remixing project chalked up several releases but it was the FF4 project that really exploded over here grabbing the most viewed interview in 2009 with the project managers. 2010 will no doubt see tons of remixes for all and I’ll drink to that *glug*.
05) Akira Yamaoka: Well HPM did a lot of reviewing of Silent Hill soundtracks in 09 and that’s because the reviews always seem popular. Now Akira has left Konami (although Shattered Memories is still composed by him) it remains to be seen when we’ll hear of him next. Not too soon we hope!
06) Imogen Heap: Imogen actually had the most viewed post of 2009 with over 700 views of bizarrely the tracklisting for Ellipse. Sadly not as many read the review so that’s why Immi is down in 7th. 2010 looks like a year of touring so expect Heap to appear in the live vault!
07) Utada: This Is the One was one of pop’s best albums and was the third most read music review of 2009 and top of the non-game music reviews. Utada’s groove is definately on and maybe we’ll hear some more Japanese work in 2010.
08) Tori Amos: Tori strangely didn’t feature highly on the most viewed threads lists but constantly propped up just outside the top 10 and so ended up 8th overall. Abnormally Attracted to Sin and Midwinter Graces were fantastic albums that deserve much love and so 2010 should see Tori enjoy a break for a few months!
09) Hiroki Kikuta: The most read review of 2009 belongs to Hiroki and the Secret of Mana + Review that clocked over 500 hits. Hiroki was kind enough to send over one of his more obscure soundtracks which will be reviewed in 2010. Thank you Kikuta-san!
10) Christopher Tin: Sneaking in by just 2 views over Sarah Slean, Christopher Tin’s Calling All Dawns is simply devine and snatched the final spot on our top 10. Chris is a genuinely nice guy and deserves all the credit the albums recieved.
Top 5 Game Reviews
01) Battle Tanks (PS3)
02) Trash Panic (PS3)
03) Numblast (PS3)
04) Shatter (PS3)
05) Magic Ball (PS3)
Well due to my holiday and getting back into the routine, September was a very quiet month for HPM in general but towards the end we had a massive influx of visitors for one man – Christopher Tin! He grabs this months most viewed award with the review of his debut album and his interview afterwards. Lisa Gerrard also popped up the order with audio samples from forthcoming album Black Opal. Here’s the top 10 artists:
01) Christopher Tin (NE)
02) Lisa Gerrard (^)
03) Imogen Heap (v)
04) Lisa Germano (^)
05) Brendan Perry (v)
06) Hikoki Kikuta (^)
07) Module (v)
08) OverClocked ReMix (v)
09) Utada (v)
10) Vienna Teng (RE)
In the gaming front, Battl Tanks was the top read review this month and actually the second highest hit post this month too! We will be going really into game reviews from all old consoles from October and they will feature more prominantly, as the site will now be taking a much more active approach due to a change in circumstances of myself!
01) Battle Tanks (NE)
02) Shatter (v)
03) Numblast (v)
And so to August 2009 where we had a four way fight for the top this month, won by Imogen Heap whereby more people actually viewed the tracklisting after the whole album was posted as a streaming audio on the website and people didn’t actually listen to the album itself! However, HPM has not reviewed Ellipse (although I personally love it already) because I’ve ordered the two disc edition and want to hold on until it comes through.
Behind it was all go for OverClocked Remix, Module and Brendan Perry.
01) Imogen Heap (^)
02) OverClocked ReMix (v)
03) Module (NE)
04) Brendan Perry (v)
05) Utada (v)
06) Kento Watanabe (NE)
07) Akira Yamaoka (^)
08) Hiroki Kikuta (v)
09) Vienna Teng (v)
10) Baiyon (NE)
Top 3 Games
03) Magic Ball
Well was there really any doubt? OverClocked Remix absolutely smashed the charts with almost more views on OCR posts than the rest of the site put together! Only Imogen Heap’s track listing for her latest album Ellipse was able to pull in big numbers too. Interesting we had almost exactly the same number of visitors as June (14 difference) and it was our third most viewed month of the sites history. We did break one new record, our first day with more than 200 hits! August should be a great month too. Let’s enjoy the summer!
01) OverClocked Remix (RE)
02) Imogen Heap (v)
03) Brendan Perry (^)
04) Utada (^)
05) Vienna Teng (v)
06) Hiroki Kikuta (RE)
07) Akira Yamaoka (v)
08) Natalie Imbruglia (NE)
09) Patrick Wolf (v)
10) Dead Can Dance (v)
Top 3 Games Reviews
02) Trash Panic
03) Magic Ball
June missed being our most busiest month by just 21 hits so March 09 still holds the crown of busiest month – however for the first time ever one artist completely outrun everyone else by such a margin, their top post (our most viewed post this month) had more hits than the second, third and fourth busiest posts combined! Well done the Imogen Heap – everyone’s gone mad over the tracklist for Ellipse and we’ll be buying the album on release day so expect a sharp review on the day (provided its in shops – we couldn’t get a copy for Speak For Yourself in a store and had to buy online and wait). Patrick Wolf, Dead Can Dance & Vienna Teng’s album reviews all followed behind. Here’s the top 10 artists followed by the only two game reviews on site (we will be doing a top 5 game hits too). Congrats to Lisa Germano for making a new entry and Tori Amos, number 1 last month, dropped straight back out the charts again! June should be a busy month with lots of reviews not just here, but over on new site I Love Disaster Movies, which is another personal indulgence to another hobby of mine! Enjoy the summer!
01) Imogen Heap (1 Month)
02) Patrick Wolf (RE)
03) Dead Can Dance (RE)
04) Vienna Teng (-)
05) Akira Yamaoka (^)
06) Utada (v)
07) Brendan Perry (-)
08) Sarah Slean (v)
09) Lisa Germano (NE)
10) Yasunori Mitsuda (RE)
For the first time in HPM’s history there hasn’t been a clear-cut winner with two artists almost drawing for first place on the most viewed list. Tori Amos however nudged it just from Utada to take top honours for the first time. It was our third most busiest month with visitors yet it was our equal second quietest in posts. This will change in June with an action packed month ahead! Here’s the top 10:
01) Tori Amos (^) 1 Month
02) Utada (v)
03) Sarah Slean (^)
04) Vienna Teng (v)
05) Reiko Nomura (NE)
06) Akira Yamaoka (^)
07) Brendan Perry (v)
08) Seiji Honda (NE)
09) Hiroki Kikuta (^)
10) OCRemix (v)
Vienna Teng continues to know no bounds with her fourth album Inland Territory which manages to sound similar without retreading old ground or ever becoming stale. This partly because Teng’s vocals are silky smooth like a breath of fresh air, and the fact that all the songs on this album are absolutely captivating.
Opening with “The Last Snowfall”, Vienna relies on atmosphere and delicate vocal delivery to set the mood. This opener is beautiful and almost Christmas like without the holiday cheer. Wintry but in a warm log fire cabin way than an icy cold way. This gives way to “White Light” which is an up-tempo number. In each of the opening tracks its not piano but organ that dominants the track. “White Light” also contains a lot of electronic embellishments which really set the song off and the chorus is rousing.
Next up is the flowing elegance of “Antebellum” which is contender for favourite song on the album. The piano just keeps rolling, along with the percussion and sumptuous vocals. Her co-producer adds his own vocals towards the end which you’ll either love or hate but personally I think it goes perfectly. One of the finest songs in Vienna’s catalogue – as is in fact “Kansas” which is a slow baron piece with muted percussion and just minimal electric piano. It’s really very effective and heart wrenching.
Lightening the mood somewhat is “In Another Life” and the absolutely swinging round the kitchen table “Grandmother Song”. Both have a certain charm to them, the former a kind of bopping 20′s wind and brass backing and the latter is a finger clicking hand clapping country jig. While neither have particularly happy lyrics they are unique strings to Vienna’s every increasing bow of extraordinary talent.
“Stray Italian Greyhound” is next up returning to a fantastically catchy piano led band track with a chorus to die for and perky verses. However when it climaxes into its middle section the song takes full form and it just hits the spot perfectly. Following up in piano rock track “Augustine” which is simple but powerful and one to sing along to whilst driving along – very empowering.
“No Gringo” is the longest track of the album and fully deserves every second. From the slow enveloping piano intro you’re held captivated by the story being told. Gradually the slow builds into a final frenzied bursting climax where Vienna cries “No Gringo Aqui” before it all slips away again in a sloping upset. It’s really like building for the battle, losing and crawling away. A fantastic track.
“Watershed” is the slow smoky aftermath of No Gringo in my opinion and they fit perfectly together. This dark brooding song is all about the ambience and the sting in the tail. It leads into the quirky “Radio” which is like a schizophrenic song that doesn’t sit still and jumps around like a cat on speed. I personally really enjoy it but it may require a couple of listens to get into it for some. The album closes with “St. Stephens Cross” which is beautiful serene track that soothes you to sleep with understated swaying euphoria.
Inland Territory is a self assured fantastic album from an artist on top form and comfortable with herself and her style. By just moving her styles and sounds around slightly, Vienna is able to keep everything fresh whilst not alienating her core fans by being stale. Without doubt its in my top three releases of 2009 and just continues to grow upon each listen. A treat for all.
Slightly delayed it may be, but here are the top ten artists that have been viewed for April 2009 which saw a bit of a change at the top with Utada taking top step from Tori Amos, Vienna Teng & Sarah Slean! Congrats to everyone on the list and here’s to another great month which will be full of new content (and a bit more prolific than last month!). However, it was our second busiest month of the sites history despite it being one of the quietest in terms of new content. May will be a busy one!
01) Utada (RE)
02) Tori Amos (^)
03) Vienna Teng (^)
04) Sarah Slean (v)
05) Brendan Perry (v)
06) Dead Can Dance (NE)
07) OverClocked Remix (v)
08) PJ Harvey (RE)
09) Akira Yamaoka (v)
10) Hiroki Kikuta (RE)
To celebrate the release of “Inland Territory” which we will be reviewing tomorrow, we have Vienna Teng as this week’s Live Vault. Performing a Mandarin song “Ru Guo” that was taught by her mother, I have no idea what the words mean but its a beautiful song nonetheless. Enjoy.
Well March was a big month! HPM hit a new high for hits and we should pass the 20,000 mark at some point in April – not too shabby for a site that’s dedicated to music that’s half about alternative, largely unknown artists, and half about video game music. This month was all about two artists who went blow to blow all the way until the final days however OverClocked Remix became the most viewed artist of the month and should become the most viewed artist of our site completely if things continue! The release of Summoning of Spirits and the interview with the project managers combined beat of the review of Utada’s anticipated second English album. Tori Amos’ latest album announcement slipped her into third while Vienna Teng slides down to fourth. Here’s the complete top 10:
01) OverClocked Remix (NE)
02) Utada (NE)
03) Tori Amos (^)
04) Vienna Teng (v)
05) Akira Yamaoka (v)
06) PJ Harvey & John Parish (NE)
07) Sarah Slean (<>)
08) Brendan Perry (v)
09) Hiroki Kikuta (v)
10) Yasunori Mitsuda (RE)
Not since we reviewed Sarah Slean’s “The Baroness” have we had such a clear winner. Vienna Teng has by far and away our most viewed artist this month with previews of her fourth album plastered everywhere. Her top two related posts contain more hits than half the next artist’s post hits combined. So without hesitation – well done to Vienna (2 months now!) and here’s the top 10!
01) Vienna Teng (2 Months)
02) Akira Yamaoka (^)
03) Hiroki Kikuta (^)
04) Brendan Perry (^)
05) Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra (=)
06) Lisa Miskovsky (NE)
07) Sarah Slean (^)
08) Tori Amos (RE)
09) Ayumi Hamasaki (v)
10) Sitorimon (NE)
Despite being two months from its release, you can preview a stream of Vienna Teng’s latest album “Inland Territory”. You can hear the entire album here. Also available are her American tour dates.
The album is much more up-tempo and much more experimental than her previous album “Dreaming Through the Noise”. There’s not a duff song and this leaves us pumped for the release on the 7th April.
HPM won’t review the album until we’ve bought it but just by this stream we can honestly say – it’s going to be absolutely fantastic!
This month was the most busiest month to date with HPM hitting over 2,000 hits for the first time! Vienna Teng & Ayumi Hamasaki’s new releases news were top of the agenda with Winifred Phillips’ latest release and inteview coming in quickly behind. Here’s this months top 10 viewed artists.
01) Vienna Teng
02) Ayumi Hamasaki
03) Winifred Phillips
04) Charlotte Martin
05) Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra
06) Hiroki Kikuta
07) Akira Yamaoka
08) Sarah Slean
09) Emiliana Torrini
10) Brendan Perry
Last month was Higher Plain Music’s biggest month to date with almost 2,000 views in the month alone and two of the busiest days of the sites history. In December Sarah Slean topped the tables after threatening to do so for the past few months. However due to region restrictions we were unable to buy The Baroness Redecorates to review it so we will have to wait until its released over in the UK for download/CD release before we can do so. Nevertheless – Happy New Year and here’s Decembers top 10!
01) Sarah Slean (2nd Last Month/ 3rd Month on Charts)
02) Hiroki Kikuta (6th Last Month / 3rd Month on Charts)
03) Charlotte Martin (1st Last Month / 3rd Month on Charts)
04) Vienna Teng (New Entry / 1st Month on Charts)
05) Gackt (New Entry / 1st Month on Charts)
06) Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra (7th Last Month / 2nd Month on Charts)
07) Aoi Teshima (New Entry / 1st Month on Charts)
08) Julia Marcell (New Entry / 1st Month on Charts)
09) Stephane Picq & Pierre Esteve (Re-Entry / 2nd Month on Charts)
10) Joe Hisaishi (Re-Entry / 2nd Month on Charts)
Vienna Teng’s 4th album is entitled “Inland Territory” and will be released on the 7th of April 2009. Let the excitement begin!
This looks set to be a darker album than Dreaming Through the Noise covering themes such as suicide bombers and illegal immigrants. Also a full orchestra, horn sections, whirlitzers and sandpaper are featured. The full tracklist is below:
1. The Last Snowfall
2. White Light
5. In Another Life
6. Grandmother Song
7. Stray Italian Greyhound
9. No Gringo
12. St. Stephen’s Cross
Vienna Teng’s blog posts indicate that her new album is coming together quite nicely. It looks to be perhaps a more heavier album too judging by her comments on how complex her songs are to perform and get right due to lots of chords! Song names mentioned are “Stray Italian Greyhound” and “Augustine”. Can’t wait!
This week’s Live Vault comes from Vienna Teng who’s delicate but powerful voice and luscious melodies could keep me entertained for hours on end. Here’s she performs “My Medea” from her second album “Warm Strangers”. Look at how close the audience is! Excellent stuff!
With 3 albums under her belt Vienna Teng has a rapidly expanding fan base and rightly so as her Live DVD showcases her talents for all to see.
Somehow I missed this DVD when it was released but having bought it and watched it for the first time last night I was surprised at just how elegant she is.
The tracklist follows a large chunk of her most recent release “Dreaming Through The Noise” and Vienna performs subtle, subdued and elegant versions of “Whatever You Want”, “Blue Caravan” and “Transcontinental 1:30AM”. Her vocals are so crisp and controlled it’s a joy to listen to and although there’s not much chatter between songs, she does joke around with her string players and her band. There’s a beautiful version of “Green Island Serenade” without instrumentation and a heart wrenching rendition of “Gravity” which shows Vienna’s a class act. The only thing I’m not so sure worked was having The Tower duetted with a male singer. It confused me hearing someone else singing the song – maybe in time it’ll grow.
In short, this DVD clocks in at the hour mark and is worth every penny. So when is your UK tour Ms Teng?